chapter  5
21 Pages

"MY LONG LIFE": FINAL WORKS

Following Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights. Stein would write only two more major works: a surprisingly simple melodrama, Yes Isfor a Very Young Man. or In Savoy (1944-45); and a second, final opera with Virgil Thomson, The Mother of Us All (1945-46). As I have demonstrated in the previous chapters, Stein's dramatic technique developed gradually and in relatively distinct stages. First influenced by cinema and avant-garde performance, Stein continuously refined her drama so that she could more effectively treat the themes of gender, sexuality, and spirituality, while reflecting the growing chaos of a war-tom and technologically overwhelmed twentieth-century. But if the path to Doctor Faustus was a process of gradually integrating fragments of the avant-garde, cinema, and queerness into a cohesive whole, then the last two plays of Stein's career split this unity into two utterly distinct directions. One play expands upon Stein's previous experiments in language and dramatic structure, while the other reaches into the previously unexplored world (for Stein) of representational drama. It is as if Stein's ambivalence about her gender, the effects of modernity and war, and the influence of the avant-garde finally fractured her drama into two oppositional parts.